A recent case, Fourth Estate Public Benefit Corp. v. Wall-Street.Com, is bringing to light a fundamental interpretation in copyright law – the actual registration versus seeking registration. On March 4, 2019, the United States Supreme Court held the Copyright Office must actually grant copyright registration before a claimant can file a copyright infringement suit in federal court. At the same time, however, a copyright owner can still recover for infringements that occur both before and after registration of a copyright. Business owners should be very clear of their registration status or run the risk of losing their ability to file a complaint for copyright infringement. If the United States Copyright Office hasn’t confirmed copyright registration, you may not have the ability to enforce your ownership rights after all.
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